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How to incorporate adaptogens into your daily routine


We all feel stressed on occasion. Some people feel stressed most of the time due to their jobs, health conditions or other circumstances. Adaptogens are substances that help the body reduce or even prevent stressful reactions by counteracting its fight-or-flight response to unwanted stress. Usually, they're naturally derived from plants, but there are some synthetic versions.

One of adaptogens' biggest benefits is the limited range and intensity of side effects, although more scientific studies are needed to confirm many claims about them. If you're dealing with a lot of stress, you may want to consider incorporating adaptogens into your daily routine. Review any adaptogen regimen with your doctor, though, to make sure it won't interfere with any other treatments you're undergoing.

What is an adaptogen?

Adaptogens are substances found in certain plants that may have a positive effect on body functions related to stress and fatigue. To be considered an adaptogen, it must help the body return to a chemical balance, alleviate stress, and be nontoxic in the recommended dosages.

What do adaptogens work for?

Adaptogens are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since they are considered a supplement. And many of the research studies on their effectiveness are inconclusive.

Still, there are adaptogens that help reduce the stress response, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disorders, focus and concentration. Each body responds differently, and the right dose of an adaptogen may vary for each person, too.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, adaptogens are not intended for long-term use. They should be used no longer than six months, and ideally for short-term purposes such as a stressful situation.

What are the side effects of adaptogens?

Though usually well tolerated, adaptogens can have side effects depending on the plant they're made from. Gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, constipation and diarrhea have been reported. Allergic reactions also are possible.

You also should be aware of how adaptogens affect your body since some supplements increase your energy or change your blood pressure. If you are at work or trying to fall asleep at night, these changes could be counterproductive.

If you take other medications, you should check with your healthcare professional for possible adaptogen interactions, especially if you are being treated for diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, hypothyroidism or sleeping problems.

What formats do adaptogens come in?

Most adaptogens come in a pill, usually a vegetable capsule. The capsules are sold in larger containers that typically contain one to two months' worth of the supplement.

There are also tinctures of some adaptogens that are concentrated formulas, used under the tongue. Others are powders you mix with smoothies or other blended meals.

A few adaptogens come in the form of tea bags that can be used for a tasty drink, supplemented by the substance.

Best adaptogens

Thorne Rhodiola

This brain adaptogen supports neurotransmitters that affect sleep, mood and focus. It balances brain chemicals without causing fatigue and is gluten-free.

Sold by Amazon and iHerb

NusaPure American Ginseng

Made in the U.S., this supplement has 5,000 milligrams of American ginseng root powder. It is used for immune system support and to balance dopamine levels in responding to stress.

Sold by Amazon

Food to Live Organic Goji Berry Powder

Certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this Goji berry powder is packed with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. It can be added to salads and soups or mixed with flour.

Sold by Amazon

Nature's Answer Ashwagandha Whole Plant Extract

This kosher supplement is used to relieve stress and anxiety. The tincture is non-GMO, gluten-free and uses a proprietary cold bio-chelated extraction to equal the nutrient ratios in the plant.

Sold by iHerb

Now Foods Astragalus

Used to boost the immune system and fight fatigue, this supplement offers 500 milligrams of astragalus root. From a family-owned manufacturer, this adaptogen is vegan and non-GMO.

Sold by iHerb

Gaia Herbs Eleuthero Root

This immune system modulator is known for providing energy and stamina while keeping you calm during stressful moments. It is gluten-free, soy-free and vegan from a certified B corporation dedicated to the environment.

Sold by Amazon and iHerb

Herbamama Korean Red Ginseng

This Asian ginseng tincture boosts energy levels with polysaccharides and oligopeptides. It also supports your immune system and lifts your mood with an organic formula made in the U.S.

Sold by Amazon

Green Health Organic Schisandra Berries Tea

These USDA-certified organic berries are sold as a tea made from Schisandra chinesis. This adaptogen is known to improve mental performance, physical endurance and overall capacity for work.

Sold by Amazon

Paradise Herbs Jiaogulan Extract

This powerful adaptogen is full of antioxidants that are used throughout Asia for rejuvenating and reducing stress. The extract is a 12-to-1 concentration grown without any chemicals or pesticides.

Sold by Amazon and iHerb

New Chapter Holy Basil Force

Made in Vermont by a certified B corporation, this supplement supports immune and cognitive function, plus stress relief. It is non-GMO and gluten-free.

Sold by iHerb

Worth checking out

  • When you want the power of multiple adaptogens in one supplement, there's Dragon Foods Super Adaptogen, which includes over 12 popular substances such as goji fruit, Chinese ginseng root and eleuthero root.

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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